OAKLAND, Calif. – Aaron Harang would rather forget his first career start against his former Oakland team.
A career-high eight walks, a whopping 105 pitches in 3 2-3 innings, a three-run deficit following a 40-pitch first inning working on two extra days of rest.
The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher lost 3-0 to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night for his shortest outing since 2010 while with Cincinnati, getting thoroughly outpitched by Brandon McCarthy.
"It was almost unfair what we did to him. He had seven days off between starts and seemed to be out of rhythm the whole night," manager Don Mattingly said. "After the first inning we hung in there. Our guys did a nice job on the mound. We just couldn't get anything going."
Harang (5-4) fell behind and couldn't recover. Traded by Texas to the A's in November 2000, the 6-foot-7 right-hander made his major league debut in the Oakland Coliseum on May 25, 2002.
On Tuesday, he looked far from the same pitcher who tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out 10 that day.
When he reached 40 pitches in the first, he yelled into his glove as he walked off the mound already trailing 3-0. Those would be all the runs Oakland needed.
"I felt a little mechanically like I was rushing a little bit too much. I was just missing spots," Harang said. "Things weren't right and they were being patient and fouling off good pitches, racking up my pitch count. Of course the walks didn't help."
Harang allowed three runs and three hits and struck out six.
This is hardly how the Dodgers hoped to begin their first Bay Area trip of the season — they return to play the division rival Giants in San Francisco next week.
McCarthy (6-3) settled down after being wound up early and showed no signs of an ailing shoulder in seven impressive innings, winning his third straight start and sixth consecutive decision despite pitching on 11 days' rest.
"After the first couple innings I kind of got back feeling normal," McCarthy said. "Early, amped up and kind of short of breath. I don't know what was going on. That felt kind of weird, which really hasn't happened this year."
Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes each hit RBI singles, and Coco Crisp reached four times and stole a season-best three bases as the A's beat the NL West-leading club that began the day with baseball's best record.
McCarthy — Oakland's opening day starter — pitched for the first time since June 7 after he was scratched from his scheduled start last Wednesday at Colorado because of a sore shoulder. He was his usual dominant self, allowing only one runner past first when Andre Ethier advanced on Bobby Abreu's fourth-inning groundout.
McCarthy allowed two hits, struck out five and walked only one in a strong 81-pitch outing that featured 56 pitches for strikes. Given it was just his third start back from the disabled list and given he had been pushed back, that was it.
"I don't know how he does it, with 11 days off and his routine being messed up some," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It was impressive."
While these teams met for just the 23rd time in regular-season history, they faced off in two memorable World Series matchups — Oakland's 1974 championship in five games and the Dodgers' title in '88 also in five games. The A's are 10-2 in the series at home.
"This is a team anybody in Northern California doesn't particularly care for," Melvin said.
The A's staked McCarthy to an early lead on Smith's first-inning RBI single that took a big bounce over center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr.'s glove for a two-base error that allowed a second run to score. Gomes singled three batters later.
Grant Balfour pitched the eighth, and Ryan Cook finished the two-hit shutout — Oakland's seventh — for his fourth save in five chances. The Dodgers were blanked for the third time.
Crisp walked his first two times up, doubled in the fourth and singled in the sixth. He stole his 11th and 12th bases in the fourth and No. 13 in the sixth, extending his streak to 36 straight successful attempts. It's an Athletics franchise record since caught stealing became an official stat in 1920.
Notes: A's RHP reliever Andrew Carignan underwent Tommy John right elbow ligament reconstructive surgery Tuesday in New York, performed by Mets Dr. David Altchek. ... Oakland RHP starter Bartolo Colon, who left his Sunday start against the Padres with a strained right oblique muscle, will be placed on the disabled list once the A's figure out their corresponding roster move. "Those oblique injuries can be pretty difficult," Melvin said. ... Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hasn't decided on his DH for the next two games. ... Mattingly remains hopeful 2B Mark Ellis (left leg surgery) and CF Matt Kemp (strained left hamstring) will be back right after the All-Star break, while LHP Ted Lilly is getting close to throwing again as he recovers from shoulder inflammation. ... Mattingly said he'll discuss with Kemp — the NL's leader in votes — whether he plays in the All-Star game next month. The manager is fine with it as long as his star player is fully healthy. ... The A's signed supplemental draft picks SS Daniel Robertson and 1B Matt Olson. ... A's reliever Jordan Norberto, on the DL with a strained left shoulder, struck out two in a scoreless inning with Triple-A Sacramento. ... Tommy Milone (6-5) tries to end the only losing streak of his career by winning for the first time in five starts Wednesday night, when the Dodgers counter with Nathan Eovaldi (0-2).